Healthy, very healthy, average, unhealthy and destructive type Four Enneagram traits.

Healthy Fours are highly intuitive, introspective and self-aware. They’re also compassionate and
tender-hearted. They treat others with kindness, diplomacy, gentleness and discretion. They are in
touch with the hidden depths of human nature and, while sensitive, have great emotional strength and
resilience. Healthy Fours are in tune with their feelings and the peaks and valleys of their inner world.
They can be extremely eloquent and self-revealing, although it’s not always about all the good going
on in their life. Healthy Fours, more than any other type, want to talk about what’s really going on
inside of them, whether it’s good or bad, happy or sad. That’s because their self-esteem is high
enough to be emotionally honest and speak authentically from their heart. They are often able to
articulate what others have thought or felt but couldn’t quite put into words. Healthy Fours are
individualistic and don’t cave in to peer pressure when their intuition is warning them not to. They
strive to be true to themselves – always. They enjoy using their subtle sensitivity and heightened selfawareness
to express universal truths about the human condition. Healthy Fours tend to have a highly
unique, ironic view of themselves and life. They can find humor in their own quirks, foibles,
contradictions and idiosyncrasies, as well as in others.
Healthy Fours are creative and really appreciate beauty in all forms. Their creativity tends to have an
exquisitely distinct, personal flavor to it. It often expresses what they’re feeling inside so it can portray
anything from the depths of despair to the heights of ecstasy. Whatever it is, healthy Fours want to
touch others deeply and are aware of how aesthetics, mood and form impact people’s feelings.
Healthy Fours are passionate people who trust their inner impulses, inspirations and hunches.
Very healthy Fours, like Gangaji*, have equanimity (emotional balance). They live in complete
harmony with their environment. They are aware of the hidden forces and laws of spirit governing the
universe and have learned how to live in the moment, in alignment with their deepest values. No
matter what happens to them, very healthy Fours know that it is for their highest good. They are able to turn their most bitter and painful experiences into sweet wine which they serve to others through
their peaceful acceptance of what is. They express themselves in personal ways that touch upon
deeper, fundamental, universal truths. They are inspired and inspiring.

  • Gangaji is a spiritual teacher who uses the Enneagram in her work. She is a self-proclaimed Four.
    Average Fours see themselves as “special,” unique and different from others. They avoid being seen
    as ordinary. They feel as though nobody REALLY understands them. Average Fours like to be able to
    do things when they feel like it (when they’re in the mood) and in the way that they want to. They can
    pout or get upset when they don’t get their way. Despite feeling special, average Fours ironically feel
    uncomfortable around others and thus, others around them.
    Average Fours focus their attention on whatever seems distant, missing or idealized. They seem to
    enjoy strong moods and feelings but, unfortunately for average Fours, they get in the way of day-today
    functioning. They take a romantic, idealistic orientation to life and long for a romantic partner to
    come along and sweep them off their feet. When they like someone they tend to obsess about him or
    her. They yearn to have a passionate, emotionally intense, intimate relationship, like Romeo and
    Juliet. They may excitedly get involved in a relationship believing that they’ve found “the one” only to
    be disdainfully disappointed when their romantic interest fails to live up to their (the Four’s) fairytale
    fantasy. Invariably, average Fours become increasingly dissatisfied with reality and themselves too.
    Average Fours are painfully self-conscious and image-conscious. They are at the mercy of their evershifting
    moods and become hypersensitive and reactive. They take everything personally and can be
    quite self-absorbed, dramatic and moody. They tend to withdraw into a lonely lair to protect
    themselves against potential criticisms and insults and to sort out their increasingly tumultuous and
    negative feelings. What is ironic about this is that average Fours desperately want positive attention
    but they never get it because they are so aloof and standoffish themselves. So, they spend their time
    alone, wallowing in their own self-absorbed misery (thus reinforcing their self-image as being different
    and someone who nobody understands). Average Fours sometimes use their melancholy as a way to
    get attention, especially from people that feel the need to rescue others (like average Twos) or people
    that feel guilty and responsible for others (like average Ones).

Unhealthy Fours can be completely impractical, unproductive and less able to cope with normal daily
living. They become self-indulgent, self-pitying melancholic dreamers. They feel as though nobody
understands them and people often let them down. They feel so different from others that they
consider themselves exempt from having to follow the rules and protocols that most people choose to
live by. They tend to do whatever they damn well please, to their own detriment of course. They can
live in their own illusionary fantasy world with intense longings for love. Unhealthy Fours can be
dramatic, tragic romantics. When others fail to live up to their unrealistic expectations they can
become critical, disdainful, contemptuous and condescending. They tend to avoid people and find it
extremely difficult to keep a schedule, promises or even show up for appointments on time, if at all!
They can’t stand any kind of pressure whatsoever and become more effete and decadent as time goes
on. Unhealthy Fours are highly temperamental, depressive and feel completely estranged from others.
Destructive Fours are debilitatingly depressed. They tend to blame themselves for their failings but
also their parents. They feel as though they’ve been victimized by others and are furious at everyone
for disappointing them. Destructive Fours tend to turn their hostility more against themselves than
others though, becoming self-contemptuous, self-reproachful and tormented by their crushed dreams,
failures and unfulfilled desires. They feel blocked, inhibited, impotent and paralyzed to take any
positive action on their own behalf. They are physically fatigued, mentally disturbed, emotionally
afflicted and spiritually broken. They can resort to drugs and alcohol to try to escape their pain. They
feel completely alienated from others and life seems empty, hopeless and meaningless. If their selfhatred
continues they become unable to function. Their sense of worthlessness and despair can lead
to self-sabotage, a nervous breakdown, crimes of passion or even suicide.

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